The AFS Freight Forecast Barometer

Looking to plan your freight forwarding budget and order schedule?

Then take a look at the AFS Freight Forecast Barometer to see what’s likely to happen over the coming months.

Current rating 7: Rainy weather ahead

Expect freight rates to increase as delays to schedules continue

Analysis – July 2024

Attacks on vessels around the Red Sea and further into the Indian Ocean by Houthi rebels are showing no sign of abating. This has included the sinking of The Tutor in June, a bulk vessel carrying 80,000 tonnes of coal.  

This disruption is impacting the freight forwarding market in several ways. For instance:

  • Larger vessels are now taking longer to return to their port of origin,  disrupting schedules and creating congestion at Asian ports
  • Labour tensions and strikes at German and French ports are adding to the delays on global trade routes, elongating transit times
  • Empty containers are now in short supply at main China ports due to an inability to replenish stocks quickly enough
  • Carriers have been introducing addtional smaller vessels to schedules in an attempt to maintain weekly departures and maintain supply
  • However, importers have been placing orders earlier in order to mitigate the potential for delays, which is increasing global demand

Ocean freight rates are now set to rise again in July, for the third month in a row.

For more details on any of the factors currently impacting freight forwarding and cargo shipments, please feel free to contact the AFS team at any time.   

It’s notoriously difficult to predict shipping prices over the course of a year. You never know when a major incident will lead to a spike in prices. This could be due to the outbreak of war; vital shipping lanes and ports being closed or extreme weather conditions. It’s important to note that while prices can spike overnight, it can take months for prices to return to something approaching normality. What we can assess, however, is what is affecting freight capacity and preventing prices from returning to base levels.

The AFS Freight Forecast: The last five years in review

We’ve taken a look back over a turbulent five-year period, to see what our Freight Forecasting Barometer would have said at the time, and why.